Like our top pick, the eight-speed Link D8 offers a great ride, smooth shifting, and a rear rack that includes a bungee. The most obvious difference is the handlebar stem, which uses Tern’s patented Andros pivoting system and allows you to change both the angle and height of the bars by lifting two quick-release levers and maneuvering the bars into place in one fell swoop. If you are tall or fussy about either an upright or more aggressive riding position, you can likely get the fit you prefer with ease.
Lastly, the headlight is always on when the e-bike is on. Perhaps there’s an option in the display somewhere to turn it off, but I couldn’t find it. It probably only draws a couple watts of power so I’m not really worried about the battery, but I hate blinding people as I roll by during the day, especially when maneuvering the bike around inside my building. And since the power button takes so long to turn the bike off, sometimes I’m blinding people in the elevator for 5 seconds straight while awkwardly smiling and gesturing towards the buttons on the display.
Controllers for brushless motors: E-bikes require high initial torque and therefore models that use brushless motors typically have Hall sensor commutation for speed and angle measurement. An electronic controller provides assistance as a function of the sensor inputs, the vehicle speed and the required force. The controllers generally allow input by means of potentiometer or Hall Effect twist grip (or thumb-operated lever throttle), closed-loop speed control for precise speed regulation, protection logic for over-voltage, over-current and thermal protection. Bikes with a pedal assist function typically have a disc on the crank shaft featuring a ring of magnets coupled with a Hall sensor giving rise to a series of pulses, the frequency of which is proportional to pedaling speed. The controller uses pulse width modulation to regulate the power to the motor. Sometimes support is provided for regenerative braking but infrequent braking and the low mass of bicycles limits recovered energy. An implementation is described in an application note for a 200 W, 24 V Brushless DC (BLDC) motor.
Throttle only, or 9 levels of cadence-sensing pedal assist are available and everything is shown on the LCD display. And we mean everything: Speed, average speed, pedal assist level, power, time, clock, odometer, range, battery voltage or percentage, and a battery infographic. There is also a USB port on the display to run another light, charge a GPS device, or your phone.
Helix has all the qualities of a performance commuter bicycle, it can be ridden hard and fast. It can handle mixed terrain; everything from city streets to gravel paths. Whether you are commuting, touring, training or just taking it easy, Helix performs the way a real bike should. Remarkably, it can transform, in seconds, to an incredibly small size.
Controllers for brushed motors: Brushed motors are also used in e-bikes but are becoming less common due to their intrinsic lower efficiency. Controllers for brushed motors however are much simpler and cheaper due to the fact they don't require hall sensor feedback and are typically designed to be open-loop controllers. Some controllers can handle multiple voltages.
The Dew-E packs functionality and fun into a rather traditional and conservative package. Front and rear fenders, integrated Busch & Müller front and rear lights, and a built-in Abus wheel lock make this a very practical commuter bike. An 11-34t 9-speed cassette and 1.75-inch tires provide versatility: You’ll stay smooth over rough city streets and zip down gravel bike paths with confidence. Front and rear rack mounts also give you the chance to outfit this bike for carrying more cargo or supplies for a longer day on the bike. Whichever way you think you’ll be riding an e-bike, this bike deserves a second look.
But with prices ranging from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds, it pays to do your homework before choosing what’s best for your requirements. We took a range of folding bikes out in central London, on to commuter trains and into the depths of suburbia in order to ascertain which is best folding bike in each category. And if you'd prefer a little electric boost for your commute, have a look at our guide to the best electric bikes.
We've partnered with an expert manufacturer with over 30 years of experience that will help us manufacture our titanium frames. We're making Helix in a dedicated facility created for the sole purpose of manufacturing one bike – Helix. Unlike overseas manufacturing, we won't be competing with other bicycle companies for engineering and floor time. This alone should ensure we can confidently predict and meet our deadlines.
Even so, our picks have some limitations. For starters, most folding bikes simply can’t accommodate riders who are very short (typically under 4-foot-8) or very tall (typically over 6-foot-3), and most can’t carry riders who weigh more than about 220 pounds (or, at least, their manufacturers don’t recommend that). And unless you really need your bike to fold for any of the aforementioned reasons, such bicycles might be more trouble than they are worth—a bike with additional mechanical hinges and latches may require more maintenance—and none really ride quite as smoothly or comfortably as a good full-size bike.
"I never lock my Brompton. I just fold it and carry it with me. I have several bikes, and at 24 lbs my Brompton is the lightest bike I've got! I take it in its sack on the Long Island Railroad and everybody assumes its just a large soft-sided attache case. The bike is quite nimble but is not the fastest two wheeler on the street. I wouldn't want to ride it to Chicago but its great for errands around town and the trip between Penn Station and Wall Street or for a leisurely trip from my home on Long Island to anywhere within 25 miles or so."
Dahon builds the Boardwalk S1 with a single-speed drivetrain and 20-inch wheels to keep things simple. The Boardwalk S1 includes both a coaster brake and linear-pull front brake for easy stopping. Despite its sturdy steel frame, the whole package weighs in at just 27.6 pounds (about the same as a mountain bike). Stash it at your beach house or slide it into your apartment’s front closet for quick escapes. Price not available.
Foldable bikes are a versatile and often-overlooked cycling option. Maybe your studio apartment has limited storage place, or perhaps your commute involves a train, several staircases, and a crowded elevator. A foldable bike is a cycling problem-solver and a bundle of fun packed into a tiny package. From lightweight singlespeeds and cruisers, to a fully-capable cargo bike, there is likely a foldable bike out there to suit your cycling needs. Here are some of our favorites.
Some manufacturers are producing folding bikes designed around folding systems that allow them to use 26" wheels, e.g., Dahon, KHS, Montague, and Tern Bicycles. Advantages of smaller wheels include potential for more speed, quicker acceleration, greater maneuverability, and easier storage. For example, the A-bike is similar to the Strida but has tiny wheels and folds a bit smaller. Bikes with smaller than 16" wheels are often called portable bicycles. These forgo the performance and easy ride benefits of their larger counterparts, acquiring characteristics similar to those of an adult folding kick scooter. Nonetheless, regardless of how each bike folds, the result is easier to transport and store than a traditional bicycle.
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